Do you ever wonder why some people seem to be so strong that they get back up no matter how much life knocks them down? What is their secret to tackling the tough times?
The answer is simple: mental strength.
Mentally strong people have developed a set of coping mechanisms to deal with life’s harsh realities. And just as it’s about the things they do, it’s also about what they avoid doing.
In this article, I’ll share seven things mentally strong people avoid doing. This one won’t be about how they aren’t afraid of challenges and never give up, though, because we all know that by now.
Rather, it’s about the things they eliminate to cultivate an empowered mindset. Let’s dive in!
1) Feeling sorry for themselves
I’ll start with something I’ve been guilty of many times in the past. You know that feeling when life just doesn’t go the way you want it to, and you start saying things like…
- “I can’t catch a break!”
- “Why do bad things always happen to me?”
- “I’m just not good/smart/lucky enough.”
- “I’ll never be as successful as other people…”
- “I’m so unlucky. Nothing ever goes my way!”
Have you been singing these sad and sorry tunes? Well, it’s time to stop it.
Mentally strong people don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. They know that self-pity is a trap that only leads to negative thoughts and behavior.
Yes, life is hard, but why magnify that with self-pity? You might end up with a victim mentality, and that’s no way to empower yourself!
2) Feeling like the world owes them anything
Here’s the thing – self-pity sometimes stems from a sense of entitlement. A feeling that the world owes you something.
That kind of mentality puts all the power on the world and none on you. You’re basically saying you’re a passive person who waits for things to be handed to you, whether that’s love, success, happiness, or whatever it is you want.
Well, I hate to say it, but the world absolutely owes you nothing.
Mentally tough people know this. They understand that their success and happiness depend on their own effort. Sure, sometimes unfortunate circumstances get in the way, but it’s up to them to deal with it.
Do you see the shift in power here? That mindset puts them in the driver’s seat!
That said, they also understand the difference between things they can and can’t control.
3) Focusing on things they can’t control
There’s a Maya Angelou quote that has helped me through many a tough time. It goes, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
See, for mentally strong people, it’s no use worrying about things beyond their control. Why let that stuff drain you of your energy?
Instead, they save their energy for the things that they can do something about.
If this is an area you struggle with, here are two tricks to help you curb it, according to psychotherapist Amy Morin:
- Develop a realistic sense of control. Ask yourself, “Is this a problem I can solve? Or do I need to change the way I feel about the problem?”
- Schedule time to worry. It limits the space you give yourself for unnecessary worrying and helps you manage your emotions.
4) Dwelling on the past
Have you ever made a mistake and then beat yourself up over it again and again? Do you replay unfortunate events over and over, feeling bad about them every time?
I get it – I’ve had those moments, too. But over the years, I’ve learned that they only make me feel worse.
Listen, it’s true that we should look to the past and learn from our mistakes. That’s important for personal growth.
But be careful not to dwell. The past is a dangerous place for those who need to move forward. It’s just another thing that you have no control over.
And as we’ve already discussed, why waste time on things you can’t control?
To avoid this, mentally strong people focus on the here and now. They take the lessons of the past and apply them to their present and future.
This mindset turns a negative experience into a rich learning opportunity!
5) Worrying about pleasing everyone
Another thing you can’t control? Other people!
Here’s the deal: We all want to be liked. We all want to make other people happy. That’s human nature.
But if you set out to make them ALL happy, oh boy, you’re in for a disappointment. You’re setting yourself up to fail!
Mentally strong people see the wisdom in not trying to pleasing everyone. Because of one simple reason – it’s impossible!
People have different needs and expectations, and you won’t be able to satisfy them all. You might end up compromising your own values, priorities, and goals. That doesn’t look good for your own happiness, does it?
Remember that you’ve got to be authentic – you’ve got to be true to yourself to stand up against life’s challenges.
And believe me, when you do that, you will feel free. Knowing that you have a choice in everything you do, think, and feel can be incredibly liberating!
6) Comparing themselves to others
Once you free yourself of the burden of pleasing others, a wonderful thing happens. You stop comparing yourself to others, which is exactly what mentally strong people do.
Remember what I said about being in charge of your life? If you really take that to heart, you’ll see that we all have different paths.
One person’s idea of success might not be yours, so why compare?
We each have our own journeys, and what we need more of from one another is support, not comparisons and competition!
7) Expecting immediate results
Have you ever tried a new skill and got frustrated when you still weren’t great at it after a few practice sessions? Or tried to lose weight and gave up because you weren’t seeing changes within a week?
I understand how these scenarios can feel frustrating. But if you take your cue from mentally strong people, you’ll see how setbacks and challenges are a natural part of the learning process.
Mentally strong people don’t expect instant results. They understand that real progress takes time and effort.
So they draw from a deep well of patience and focus on the process rather than the outcome. That way, they can stay motivated and persistent, no matter how long it takes.
If there’s anything I’ve realized over the years, it’s that becoming mentally strong is similar to developing physical strength.
If you want to be physically strong, you go to the gym, eat well, and avoid habits that mess up the program, right? The same goes for mental strength – you take care of your mental health, keep on learning, and ditch the habits that mess up your positive mindset.
Once you look at your mental “muscle” this way, you’ll see that it takes mindfulness and effort to strengthen it. And yes, it might take some time, but it’s definitely worth it!